There have been a lot of opinions published recently on marketer’s bias towards younger demos in their advertising. Those concerned with it bring up the fact that older age groups (50+) are a larger population group and have more discretionary money to spend. They question why marketers ignore this age group to win over younger buyers.
Here’s my problem with this. I believe the role of advertising is to get someone to buy your brand the first time. People over the age of 50 may have already built their preferred set of brands. They grew up with Cheerios, Coca Cola, and Tylenol. Is a new ad going to make them change their brand preferences? No. Maybe a doctor’s recommendation will, but not ads. If anything, you’re likely to lose these buyers permanently to private label more often than to a competitive brand. And ads don’t spur people to make repeat purchases. Satisfaction with a brand AND an empty box is the trigger for repeat purchase.
On the other hand, younger adults are entering categories like automobiles, baby products, OTC healthcare and food for the first time. They might have some familiarity and experience with their parent’s brands, but their personal preferences haven’t been determined. The “category set” for them to choose from are still open.
Additionally, the lifetime value of a younger buyer has so much more upside than an older target. Anyone who understands acquisition marketing will tell you to chase the higher LTV. Your advertising should not pay-out in the near term. It should be focused on growth by attracting new buyers. Buyers willing to purchase the brand on its own merits, because the benefit appeals to them.
Marketers who chase volume and heavily price promote to their existing older buyers, rather than trying to attract new buyers, rarely show real growth. If you want growth target a younger audience.